August 16th, 2012
01:18 PM ET
2 years ago

Romney says he paid at least 13% in taxes for last ten years

Greer, South Carolina (CNN) – Mitt Romney has paid no less than 13% in personal income taxes over the past ten years, he said Thursday.

The presumptive GOP nominee has faced withering criticism from Democrats over the release of his tax returns, including a charge by Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid that Romney had paid no taxes for a ten year period. Reid did not specify if those were the last ten years, or an earlier period.

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Romney expressed frustration with Reid's attack at a press conference with reporters in South Carolina.

"I did go back and look at my taxes and over the past ten years I never paid less than 13%. I think the most recent year is 13.6 or something like that. I paid taxes every single year," Romney said, explaining he had gone back to check his records after being asked by a reporter about the tax rates he had paid. "Harry Reid's charge is totally false. I am sure waiting for Harry to put up who it was that told him what he says they told him – I don't believe it for a minute by the way – but every year I paid at least 13% and if you add in addition the amount that goes to charity, why, the number gets well above 20%."

Reid had told reporters an anonymous source gave him a tip. A source close to Reid later said that Reid got the information from an investor with Bain, the private equity firm Romney ran.

A spokesman for Reid, Adam Jentleson, said in a statement Thursday after Romney's press conference, "We'll believe it when we see it. Until Mitt Romney releases his tax returns, Americans will continue to wonder what he's hiding. Romney seems to think he plays by a different set of rules than every other presidential candidate for the last thirty years, all of whom lived up to the standard of transparency set by Mitt Romney's father and released their tax returns."

Romney has released his 2010 tax returns and an estimate of his 2011 tax returns when he filed for an extension, but has declined to make available any earlier returns.

On Thursday he called insistent questions over his tax documents "small-minded compared to the broad issues that we face" such as unemployment and the nuclear threat from Iran.

President Barack Obama's campaign quickly dismissed Romney's tax revelation in a statement.

"Mitt Romney today said that he did indeed 'go back and look' at his tax returns and that he never paid less than 13% in taxes in any year over the past decade. Since there is substantial reason to doubt his claims, we have a simple message for him: prove it," Obama campaign spokeswoman Lis Smith wrote. "Even though he's invested millions in foreign tax havens, offshore shell corporations, and a Swiss bank account, he's still asking the American people to trust him. However, given Mitt Romney's secrecy about his returns, coupled with the revelations in just the one return we have seen to date and the inconsistencies between this one return and his other financial disclosures, he has forfeited the right to have us take him just at his word."

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Filed under: 2012 • Mitt Romney • Taxes
soundoff (1,477 Responses)
  1. Majav

    Wow! 13% ! That nearly matches what he gave the Mormon Church. Does that include state, federal, and local taxes or just federal income tax?

    Let's consider what he paid that 13% on:

    Bain Capital was started in 1983 with NINE MILLION DOLLARS (40% of the initial seed money) from El Salvadoran families that operated death squads killing thousands of innocent farmers in Central America.

    Romney went to Miami to get this blood money. Seems folks in Grand Rapids and Salt Lake City had better things to do with their money.

    This is a remarkable story that is absent on CNN, FOX, and the old school broadcasters ABC, CBS, and NBC.

    Romney's Bain Capital now hides the profits from that initial investment in off shore bank accounts that are immune from taxation. Not only are his profits immune but also any original investor's.

    It is well known what Romney does with his money now, but what is not well known is where that money originally came from.

    Bain Capital was seeded by Miami vice who were rich immigrants that needed to funnel their ill-gained profits into upstart funds like Romney's.

    Could this be the start of Romney being a two-bit dictator in a banana republic?
    Only if American voters are too naive to vote him in.

    August 16, 2012 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  2. Parsing This

    So, he is resident of Massachusetts which has a 5.3% tax rate on both income and capital gains. By not stating that the 13% is Federal alone, I infer that it is state and Federal. In which case, his federal is in the 8% range. This would be interesting to look at.....

    Also, I happen to think the greatest wealth transfers in the US are the rules or lack thereof governing M&A.

    August 16, 2012 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  3. David

    I suspect that Romney and his camp will whine about folks questioning the veracity of what he is saying about his taxes without proof. To which the reply is an easy three word Ronald Reagan quote, "Trust, but verify."

    August 16, 2012 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  4. v_mag

    Even if he paid 13%, that's outrageously low on a vast income like he has. Show us what loopholes you used. Show us all how you managed a tiny rate like that. Show us the returns!

    And then explain why you accepted Bain investors who ran the death squads in El Salvador.

    August 16, 2012 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  5. alien

    We had a " business savy president" remember g.w. bush he was a big oil business man, see where that got us? Or do you repubes have a case of selective memory again?

    August 16, 2012 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  6. Mary

    Ok – we are now getting somewhere. just show them to us to prove how you came up at the figure.

    August 16, 2012 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  7. Obama2012

    i can´t believe baptists will vote for this mormom......

    August 16, 2012 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  8. scmom

    Everybody on here saying he's honest and he's paying his fair share. Mitt Romney knows how to make money and investment money that was his occupation and he was good at it. How do you make yourself richer, hiring accountants that know how to work those taxes to his best advantage. You don't start businesses to hire people, you start businesses to make money. This man is all about money and money only and he knows what's in his taxes and how every bit of his money is invested, spent and taxed. He knows who he can fool into believing his sad lie about not knowing what is in his taxes and those people were going to vote for him anyway. And I figured out why he walks like he got a stick up his butt, he keeps his walking around money up there.

    August 16, 2012 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  9. emma

    So, he paid 13 % of taxes every year for 10 years. Property, sales, gasoline, federal or what kind? Is it really about whether he was legally compliant or is it about how he slithered through tax loopholes that many Americans disagree with?
    It defines him as one who stands for these loopholes and will govern accordingly.

    August 16, 2012 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  10. Blah blah the wheel's off your trailer

    We are not going to take your word for it Mr. Robmoney. just show us your tax returns.

    August 16, 2012 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  11. njx

    Go ask Nancy Pelosi about her tax bill. You think every rich person in Congress is paying 30 percent in taxes, but somehow Mitt Romney is the only politician getting away with something? LOL!

    August 16, 2012 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  12. njx

    So let me get this straight: if you were rich, you would voluntarily pay as MUCH in tax as possible, as opposed to paying as LITTLE in tax as the law allows? Sure...

    August 16, 2012 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  13. Todd

    If you look at the returns he has release, you can average about 2 MILLION paid in taxes and another 2-2.5 MILLION given to charity. So over a ten year period he has given close to 50 MILLION dollars to taxes or charity. So why should he pay more? He has not broken any laws and has paid what is required and probably has paid more in taxes than all people responding on here made in the same 10 year period. The rich should not have to apologize for being rich and he should not have to apologize for paying what is required in taxes. When one of you makes millions per year, lets see you talk about paying a higher percentage. This country was founded on being able to make as much money as you can and not to be ashamed of being successful. The American Dream is to work hard and make a better life for yourself....not sit at home and hold your hand out for Government assitance. It is not wrong to have a willingness to work hard and make a succes out of yourself.

    August 16, 2012 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  14. truthinprint

    I believe you, Mitt. Your word is all we need. I mean, Mr. Obama didn't have to release any documentation to squash those pesky intimations that he wasn't born in the US. So, why on Earth would Mr. Mitt have to back up his words with documents?? You can't run on your record at Bain. You can't run on your record as Governor. What can you run? Oh wait – lies, lies, and more lies. Medicare Advantage – the new catch bumper sticker from the party of NO.

    August 16, 2012 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  15. Duwayne Anderson

    It's remarkable that Romney thinks it somehow vindicates him, if he paid "at least" 13% in taxes. Apparently, this spoiled rotten crook doesn't realize the rest of us are paying *twice* that much.

    August 16, 2012 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  16. SlowGun

    Wheres the birth certificate, oops, I mean tax returns.

    August 16, 2012 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
  17. Ready

    I bet he paid as much as the Kennedy's did, at least the legal money they claimed to make, not the bootlegging stuff.

    August 16, 2012 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  18. impact

    Trusssst me. SSSSSS. I paid 13% but I won't show you. You'll have to Trussssst me.

    August 16, 2012 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  19. tykl

    @ Malory Archer = not brave. I know what the numbers are. The exercise is for self-righteous, hypocrites like yourself to have to put down facts and then defend them instead of gyrating and foaming at the mouth about how much others paid in taxes in your typical greed, envy and animosity routine.

    August 16, 2012 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  20. Independent

    @Todd....THANK YOU!!!! EVERYONE READ that post cause that is the TRUTH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    August 16, 2012 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  21. Should we call him Spiro Romney?

    Given the lies and distortions in his ads (not just against Obama, check out his ads in the primary) I think the time when we can take Romeny at his word is long past.

    And now that he's named his ultra-right wing teaparty running mate – it's even more important that we see his taxes.

    It's not so long that we had a VP who had to resign because of his tax evasion. Don't like Romney but he is still a better choice than Rand for president. Ann's admitted that they are hiding something in their taxes – whether it's just distasteful or actually criminal needs to be determined before we have to decide whether to have Rand be one wikileak away from the oval office.

    TIme for show and tell, Mr. Romney-Agnew.

    August 16, 2012 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  22. 2020

    Romney made a fatal choice.

    With Ryan, the gramma killer, this election focus shifted

    From the referendum of Obama to referendum of the DO NOTHING Congress;

    From the job creation economy to health care, social programs;

    From all American inclusive to exclusive to wealth 1%;

    From middle class to Billionnaire privileged benefits;

    The choice never been so clear, focus, and common sense.

    Ryan push Grampa Romney over the cliff

    August 16, 2012 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  23. C S Narayan

    I am appalled by the response to Romneys tax topic. What I don't understand is how do we blame one person for his wealth which has been possible because of the country's policies. Why don't we talk about how Mr Obama should have changed the policies and tax codes when he had both the house and congress for two years. Well he did not and now we are trying to blame the citizens for using the policies that are in place because of the policy makers. Shouldn't we be focussing on who is willing to bring in changes to this country rather than things that doesn't even matter.

    August 16, 2012 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  24. NATHAN WIMBERLY

    Why does the unhinged GOBP tea potty always change the subject to Obama when they get caught lying? They have nothing to offer America.

    August 16, 2012 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  25. judith

    How about "trust but verify?" Ann says releasing the returns would give the opposition "ammunition." And we're supposed to take the Human Windsock's word for anything?

    August 16, 2012 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
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